Operational Tips for Mexico – Landing Permits for Private Aircraft
This is a post by authors Manuel Girault and Jorge Alva. Manuel and Jorge are based at Universal Aviation Mexico, which has an FBO facility in Toluca and aircraft ground handling facilities in Cancun, Los Cabos and Cozumel. Manuel is an expert on business aircraft operations in Mexico and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Mexico and continues from our last article: "Operational Tips for Mexico – Fuel, Security and Additional Services."
The landing permit process for Mexico varies from straightforward to complex, depending on the type of operation. While private non-revenue permits do not involve complex procedures, it’s recommended that you work with a well-experienced 3rd-party provider for all Mexico permit applications.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Landing permits are required for Mexico
All operations – both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) – require landing permits when operating to Mexico. Landing permits for private non-revenue operations are fairly straightforward, while charter permits are more challenging.
2. Know documentation requirements
Private non-revenue operators must provide copies of airworthiness and registration certificates, pilot licenses and medical certificates, along with proof of Mexican insurance and a worldwide insurance policy.
3. One-time private operation landing permits can be obtained quickly
One-time permits may be requested in advance or upon landing. If requested in advance, provide at least one working day’s notice, along with required documents. For short-notice trips, it’s usually best to obtain a landing permit on arrival. Required documents may be shown on arrival to Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil (DGAC) inspector for review, and the process usually takes about 40 minutes. Be aware that if you do not use a ground handler for permit processing, there may be language barriers to consider. If documents are forwarded in advance, and your ground handler fills out the required forms, landing permit processing on arrival is reduced to about 10 minutes. Keep in mind that if there are changes to aircraft (a different tail number, for example) or documentation, your landing permit must be updated.
4. Annual (multiple-entry) permits are another option for private operations
Annual permits are valid for a calendar year (January 1-December 31). This permit allows unlimited entries into Mexico and any number of stops within the country. Suggested lead time for annual permits is two months. It’s best to make the application in September so that your annual permit will be active January 1. DGAC takes about 15 working days to process an annual permit, and subsequent permit revisions also take 15 working days to process. Annual permits are available for multiple tail numbers – so it’s best to include all aircraft in your fleet. While a permit number does not need to be placed in the flight plan remarks section, operators need to keep the original permit confirmation onboard, along with receipt of permit payment.
5. There are special considerations if your aircraft has more than 15 seats
In Mexico, any aircraft with more than 15 seats is considered "scheduled commercial." If you’re operating a private non-revenue flight with more than 15 seats, you must submit all documents – along with the aircraft configuration – to prove it’s a private non-revenue flight for permit purposes.
6. Be aware of outstanding SENEAM fees
Servicios a la Navegación en el Espacio Aéreo Mexicano (SENEAM) fees can impact operations when overflying or landing in Mexico. If an operator has unpaid SENEAM overflight or airport overtime fees outstanding, the aircraft may be held on the ground in Mexico (for up to several days in a worst-case scenario) while fees are settled. For more information on SENEAM fees, please see the two articles written by Juan Muniz and Lupe Jensen titled "Mexico’s SENEAM Fee and Business Aviation – Part One: Explaining SENEAM Fees" and "Mexico’s SENEAM Fee and Business Aviation – Part Two: Paying SENEAM Fees." Confirm, prior to the day of operation, that you have no SENEAM fees outstanding. If such fees are owed, you’ll be permitted to land in Mexico but prevented from taking off until overdue fees are cleared up.
If you have any questions about this article or if you would like assistance with planning your next trip to Mexico, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Later, we’ll discuss charter landing permits for Mexico and their impact on your trip.